On one hand I am very supportive of alternative sentencing for our people. On the other hand I don't like it when one of our people seriously attacks and rapes another and then avoids punishment.
Judges enraged by inadequate access to native sentencing services — despite an edict from the Supreme Court of Canada requiring it — have been reducing prison terms for serious aboriginal offenders in response, recent court decisions reveal.
And as courts struggle to accommodate the requirement of taking detailed aboriginal heritage into account, lower sentences may be followed by outright acquittals, legal service providers warn.
Two dramatic cases — of an aboriginal man who broke into the home of a 62-year-old woman, then robbed and raped her, and of an aboriginal woman caught smuggling heroin into Canada — led judges to issue scathing admonishments over the government’s poor attention to the mandated sentencing principle.